3 Loafers Every Man Should Own

When you’re talking about versatile, stylish footwear, there are few styles I like better than loafers. I love that they can be dressed up or dressed down, and work for pretty much every season. There are many varieties out there these days, from simple to complicated, but I’d like to focus on three primary types that deserve a place in your closet, plus a few that maybe don’t.  Get ready, it’s loafer season for a reason.

 

Penny Loafers

A classic style that has stood the test of time, penny loafers are perhaps my favorite out of all the loafers. I love how versatile penny loafers are, they can be dressed up with a suit or dressed down with everything from jeans and a buttondown to chinos and a polo shirt. Brown and black are the two ideal colors here. For a secondary choice, a classic burgundy or oxblood color is an excellent option.

My Picks

Designer:

Prada

Ferragamo

Budget -Friendly:

Johnston & Murphy

Bass Weejun

Driving Moccasins

Originally designed for, you guessed it, driving, I love this style because they’re super comfortable and work well in a variety of casual situations.  They come in a few variations but I prefer the versions with a nubbed rubber sole or a full rubber sole for the look and comfort. For colors, the basics like brown and tan are great of course, but I also recommend versions in grey or navy for a pop of color.

My Picks

Designer:

Tods

Budget-Friendly:

Zappos

Boat Shoes

Another shoe that evolved from function – the no-slip rubber sole and lightweight design worked well on boats – boat shoes have become a classic warm-weather staple. I like them best with chinos and shorts for a relaxed alternative to sneakers. On the color front, go with blue, brown and grey for maximum wearability.

My Picks

Sperry Top-Sider

Alternative Loafer Styles

There are a few other loafer styles out there but I don’t generally recommend them because they can lean too specific in their look and style.

Tassel Loafers

This dandy look is popular with a lot of style bloggers out there, and while I don’t hate them, I just don’t think they’re ideal for most men from a style standpoint. Just like your clothes, your shoes should be streamlined, and while the tassels can give them somewhat of a “distinguished” look, I find them to be distracting, like an untucked pair of shoelaces.

Horsebit Loafers

Another type with a dandyish vibe that has become popular again (you may know them as Gucci’s iconic loafer), I am not a fan of them at all. They immediately age you up (and not in a good way), and I always expect a lawyer or Wall Street guy who is trying way, way too hard to wear these.

Venetian Loafers or Smoking Loafers

Both of these have a similar, streamlined shape and a formal look. Venetian loafers are unadorned and usually in leather while smoking loafers are typically velvet and have embroidery or embellishments on top of the shoe. I always view these as super formal, and that’s why I really only recommend wearing the patent leather or velvet versions with a tuxedo if you want to add some flair. I don’t recommend more casual versions in regular leather because it’s a style that’s quite outdated and doesn’t have the versatility I like. 

My Picks

Christian Louboutin

Vince Camuto

So no matter what you’re wearing, casual or formal, get out there and wear some loafers this season, your feet (and style) will thank you.

Sneakers Every Man Should Own

I talk a lot about what a crucial part of your wardrobe sneakers are and they definitely shouldn’t be an afterthought.  There are many great ones out there, but not all sneakers are created equal. Having a selection of classic, versatile styles will definitely take your casual wardrobe to the next level.  With that, here are my picks for the sneakers that every man should own!

 

Canvas Sneakers

PF Flyers 

These were also my top pick this year for shoes you need to own in 2018, and for good reason, they’re cheap, breathable, comfortable and have a unique take on the classic canvas sneaker.

Vans Classic or Converse All Star

If the PF Flyers aren’t up your alley or you want something other than white, consider one of these super classic, never-go-wrong sneakers. They’re cheap and look awesome with pretty much everything. I love them in white, navy, gray or even black.

Leather Sneakers

Stan Smith or Common Projects Achilles

I’ve talked about white leather sneakers a ton; I love how they’re clean, classic and add a little extra polish to a casual outfit. If you’re not a fan of white, definitely get the gray or blue versions of these.

Running Shoes

New Balance Retro Sneaker

Like I mentioned in my top shoe video, these New Balance retro running sneaker are affordable, look great, and are very comfortable. I love the woven upper, as it makes them extra breathable and very comfortable-just like wearing socks.

Adidas P.O.D. S3.1 or Ultra Boosts

Ultra boost soles are like walking on marshmallows, they’re the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever worn. Plus these are cool and unique without being crazy loud like other running shoes can be. If you want something less flashy, the classic Ultra Boosts are the way to go.

High Top Sneakers

Converse All-Stars

I like the all-white over all-black because the all black is really heavy-looking on your feet. If you want black, I’d actually suggest getting a version by John Varvatos, they’re a well-designed take on the classic Converse-style high top.

Nike SF Air Force 1

For those of you who really like a sporty high top sneaker, here’s one of my favorites that I’ve styled on a couple of my clients. I like the black and white colorway of these but the all-white ones look great too. I love the clean silhouette and the dual zippers at the heel make these shoes super easy to get on and off.

So those are my top picks for sneakers every man should own, hopefully you’ve got a few of them lined up in your closet!

What To Wear To A Wedding

By now you probably have a stack of summer events you’ve RSVP’d to, from weddings to engagement parties, so now tough part begins, attempting to understanding that dress code and figuring out what the hell to wear. Unfortunately, we live in an age where dress codes have become more and more confusing and unnecessarily complex. But the good news is, I’m here to help you figure it all out and, more importantly, help you out with what to wear.

To begin unraveling what the hell “Beachy Vacation Casual Chic” or “Game Of Thrones-inspired forest semi-formal” really means, it’s important to think about the event and put it in context with four main types of dress code: black tie, formal, semi-formal, and casual. Once you do that, it’s as simple as can be. Stick to the four following examples and dress accordingly.

The Invite Says: Black Tie

The most formal code for obvious reasons, a black tie dress code means tuxedo only.

What To Wear: A tuxedo

This isn’t the place for a suit so embrace your James Bond moment. There are lots of tuxedo options these days, from navy to grey, but if you’re unsure, stick to the classic: black tux, white shirt, black bow tie, and white pocket square you can’t go wrong and provided everything fits properly, you’re going to look amazing.

The Invite Says: Black Tie Optional

Also Known As: Formal

This is the most common type of dress code for evening weddings and, similarly, formal events. You’ll see some people in tuxes but suits will be most common.

What To Wear: A tuxedo or dark suit

By all means, be the best-dressed man in the room and wear a tuxedo, I encourage it. But, a classic dark-colored suit, like charcoal or midnight navy, works equally well. Keep your shirt choice simple and go with white and keep the color in your tie to a minimum. Ideal combos include a white shirt with a simple black, silver, burgundy, or navy tie. I don’t really recommend a ton of patterns or colors here as it’s not really the place.

The Invite Says: Cocktail Attire, Evening Attire or Something with Formal

Also Known As: Semi-Formal

The most common type of dress code, especially for weddings and events in the afternoon or evening.

What To Wear: A suit or blazer with a tie

Depending on the time of the event (day or night) most suit and tie combinations will leave you looking like a sharp-dressed man. Charcoal, Navy, and patterned suits all work for this dress code. If it’s an afternoon or daytime event and outdoors, you could also wear a lightweight cotton suit or blazer combination, especially if it’s going to be hot. Feel free to add a pop of color or print as a personal touch if you’re feeling adventurous. A tie isn’t mandatory, but I always recommend one for events like this.

The Invite Says: Anything with “Resort”, “Beach”, “Garden Party”

Also Known As: Casual

Sure, it’s the broadest category but also potentially the biggest minefield. The most important consideration here is location and time of day. Daytime and beach events are pretty much an open field but I always say ‘dress to impress”.

What To Wear: Dressy Casual Shirts and Pants

Simple cotton, chambray, or linen shirts, chinos, and cotton dress pants work best. For a stylish touch, I recommend throwing on a silk knit tie. For an event that’s slightly more formal, say summer weddings and engagement parties or an evening event, dress up your chinos and shirt with a lightweight cotton or wool blazer and throw on a pair of loafers. You can also feel comfortable wearing all types of colors and patterns here, provided they’re appropriate for the event.

Don’t forget to check out my favorite picks from The Tie Bar to get you ready for wedding season!

Don’t forget to check out all my picks from the video!

Video Picks

Ties from The Tie Bar

Shirts from The Tie Bar

Now that you’ve got your wedding style game plan set to go, all that’s left is to brush up on a few dance moves.

Shorts

Whether you live in a place with year-round warm weather or are gearing up for the Spring and Summer season, having a well-fitting shorts rotation is key to a well-rounded casual wardrobe. Despite their casualness, the effort you put into how your shorts look and fit shouldn’t be an afterthought.  My Fit Guide is something I always refer back to for a reason, and just like you consider the fit, look, and fabrics of your shirts and pants, your shorts arsenal should get the same type of consideration.

 

Get The Right Fit

Your shorts should be as well-fitting as your favorite pair of chinos or denim, and that starts with getting the right length and taper. The sweet spot for short length is somewhere between the top of your knee up to a max of 2” above your knee, regardless of body type.  This length is going to be both versatile and flattering, no matter what else you’re wearing.  Ultimately you should look for shorts with a 7”-10” inseam, depending on where you are comfortable wearing them.

Avoid overly baggy or tight shorts by choosing a pair that gives you the right taper. A quick and easy way to find the right fit is, you should be able to pinch 1-2” on either side of your thigh.  Much more or less and you’re headed into the shorts danger zone.

Find The Right Style

Now that you’ve got a good idea what the right fit is for you, it’s time to focus on finding the right styles. Here are a few quick tips to ensure you’re setting yourself up for shorts success.

Stick To Flat Front Styles

Pleats are a no-go here, they’re only going to age you and make you look like you’ve got a pooch.

Cotton Is King

In terms of material, you want to choose cotton or cotton blends like chino cloth, seersucker, or linen, they’re the most versatile and easy to care for.

Go With Classic Colors

In the color department, for your primary shorts you want to go with solid colors like blue, grey, and khaki because they’re timeless and will always look sharp. Once you’ve got the basics on lock, you can always mix in a plaid or a fun pattern, but just know that wearing these on a day-to-day basis, outside of a fun event, can read a little boyish. Use your discretion here but I recommend sticking with solids to start.

My Shorts Picks

Budget-Friendly Shorts:

Uniqlo Shorts

H&M Chino Shorts

H&M Cotton Shorts

Gap Linen Shorts

Gap Embroidered Shorts

Banana Republic Stretch Shorts

Banana Republic Printed Shorts

Surf-Inspired Shorts:

Billabong, Hurley, Quiksilver Shorts

Other Favorites:

Bonobos Shorts

Bonobos Printed Shorts

Vince Shorts

Brooks Brothers Shorts

Brooks Brothers Linen/Cotton Shorts

Brooks Brothers Seersucker Shorts

Vineyard Vines Shorts

10 Biggest Style Mistakes Young Men Make

As a stylist, my clients range anywhere from teenagers all the way up to men in their 60s and 70s, and these are 10 mistakes I’ve noticed with my younger clients when I first start working with them. The road to finding your own personal style is a long one but keep these in mind as you’re figuring out your own path!

10. Ill-fitting clothing

Whether you’re on the thin side or are a bigger guy, your clothing should always fit properly. A lot of times many young men try and over-compensate in either direction to make up for what their body type is, but don’t do it.  Big or small, proper fit is always king.

9. Oversized ties and knots

Buying a tie that’s too wide and using massive knots will only serve to make you look like a little kid, so make sure you use a knot that’s proportionally sized for your frame and suit.

8. Trying to be a hypebeast all day, everyday

Focusing solely on brands and labels plastered all over you is only going to send the signal that you’re dressing for the wrong reasons.  Be judicious in your brand choices and know that understated is always going to look good.

7. Dressing well means being uncomfortable

Thinking that you can’t dress well and be comfortable at the same time is something that I get all the time and it drives me crazy! A properly fitting shirt or jeans should always be comfortable and flattering.  Are they going to be as comfortable as baggy sweats and an old t-shirt? No, but ultimately if you want to be taken seriously you should always be cultivating and presenting a thoughtfully stylish appearance to the world, not one focused only on comfort.

6. Buying all statement items

This is a problem for most men looking to dress better, but more often with younger men because I notice they confuse fashion with style. Fashion pieces can be loud and make a statement, but that doesn’t make you stylish. Here or there, sure, it’s fine, but it’s important to always have basic, foundational items that are stylish and versatile as well.

5. Not having a foundational wardrobe

Speaking of the foundational basics, it’s critical to always start with the basics and get the right jeans, t-shirts, button-ups, shoes, and sweaters first. Don’t underestimate the style and power of a sharp, basic wardrobe as the building blocks of great personal style.

4. Dressing exactly like your friends and not trying different things

Going along with following hypebeast trends, I see a lot of men fall prey to dressing just like everyone else in their squad. You’re young, have fun with your clothing and style and embrace your individuality. Figuring out what looks good on you and makes you feel best is an important step in figuring out your personal style.

3. Looking good is expensive

One of my least favorite misconceptions about style is that unless you’re rich, you can’t look good, and that money matters in dressing well. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Looking good on a budget is absolutely doable, no matter how low the budget, and it just takes some knowledge and focusing on well-fitting, basic items.

2. Mixing too many patterns and colors

Just like focusing only on statement pieces, many younger men confuse being loud and wearing excessive patterns with being stylish. But in reality it’s just the opposite. Focus on more subtle details and cohesive pieces to give your outfits the best look.

1. Not caring how you look

This applies not just to clothing, but to grooming and hygiene as well. If you focus on looking relatively clean and well-groomed you’ve beaten a majority of young men out there.  Anyone that makes fun of you for caring about your appearance is a lost cause, so don’t even worry about the haters.

As I said earlier, don’t forget that personal style is a journey and like any journey, it’s bound to have a few bumps along the way, the important part is learning from your mistakes and figuring out what works best just for you.